Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) has said that it is committed to deepening professionalism among bureaux de change operators in order to engender foreign investors’ confidence in the Nigerian foreign exchange market.
Speaking at the South West zonal meeting of the association, ABCON President, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe said that BDC operators should distinct themselves from parallel market operators by rendering efficient services and complying with all regulatory requirements.
He said that while most of the pressure on the naira is due to problems of liquidity and confidence especially on the part of foreign investors, he averred that professionalism on the part of BDCs will help engender foreign investors’ confidence in the nation’s foreign exchange market.
“ABCON is committed to boosting foreign investors’ confidence in the Nigerian market, as this will help attract the much needed liquidity into the market and reduce pressure on the naira exchange rate”, he said.
He said: “You have to distinct yourselves from parallel market. We are the ones licensed to operate the business but we must prove this by distinguishing ourselves through the way we serve our customers.
“You know that before now, there were criticisms of BDCs but now we are the new bride of the regulators. To ensure that we sustain the renewed regulatory interest and confidence in BDCs, we have to ensure we comply with the necessary requirement and demonstrate professionalism in the way we do our business.”
I can tell you that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is even willing to expand our scope of business but this is conditioned to our willingness to increase our level of professionalism.”
Gwadabe advised BDCs not to limit their services to foreign exchange needs for Personal Travel Allowance (PTA). He said: “Why is everybody just doing PTA, when you can do Mortgage, School fees, and medical expenses. You can do mortgage, medical and school fees on cash basis provided you don’t exceed $5000, and you ensure all the necessary documentation are provided.”
On the challenges experienced by BDCs in verifying Biometric Verification Numbers (BVNs) and the International Passports of prospective customers, Gwadabe assured the gathering that the association has commenced discussions with the management of Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) about providing a dedicated channel for BDCs to very BVNs and International Passports.
He however advised BDCs to be patient and continue to use the available channel to verify BVNs and the International Passports of customers. He said besides BVN verification, BDCs should ensure they deal with people they are familiar with, as this is necessary to ensure compliance with the Know Your Customer (KYC) requirement of the CBN.
Gwadabe disclosed that the Association has set up a surveillance committee to monitor the activities in the BDC sector. He said members of the association should help facilitate the work of the committee by providing information on any observed malpractice on the part of any operator.